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healthy snack options for your child

Healthy Snack Options for Your Child’s Dental Health

Many children require a morning and/or afternoon snack, but are you selecting the optimal option? Numerous snacks marketed as “healthy” are often laden with sugar, heightening the risk of tooth decay. While sugary snacks may be enticing in taste, they pose significant harm to your child’s dental health. Labels such as organic, GMO-free, or gluten-free do not guarantee a product’s suitability for your children’s teeth.

Cavities form as a result of tooth decay, which occurs when oral bacteria metabolize sugars from foods and beverages. Over time, these bacteria produce a sticky film known as plaque. This plaque gradually erodes the tooth enamel, leading to the development of cavities if left unchecked.

Here are some snacks that aren't very friendly to your teeth:

  1. Energy, protein, or granola bars might appear wholesome, yet they often resemble candy bars in their sugar and calorie content. Moreover, numerous varieties contain sticky dried fruit, which can persist between a child’s teeth well after consumption, posing a risk of decay.
  2. Dried fruits, fruit leathers, and fruit snacks contain high amounts of sugar and have a sticky consistency that adheres to teeth and gums, increasing the risk of decay.
  3. Cracker snacks such as Goldfish, graham crackers, potato chips, and bagel chips have a tendency to cling to teeth. They contain carbohydrates that convert into sugar during digestion, thus increasing the risk of cavities.
  4. Sports drinks are packed with additional calories and high sugar content, nearly equivalent to two-thirds of the sugar found in soda drinks. These surplus calories can potentially contribute to weight issues, while the excess sugar can lead to dental complications. Additionally, their acidity can contribute to enamel erosion.

Here are some healthy snack ideas for your child’s teeth:

Fruits and vegetables:

  • Apple slices, precut
  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Bell pepper slices
  • Carrots
  • Celery Cherry tomatoes
  • Coconut
  • Cucumbers
  • Edamame
  • Grapes
  • Frozen Vegetables (microwave)
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Olives
  • Purple cabbage
  • Raspberries
  • Seaweed
  • Strawberries

Combination ideas:

  • Cucumbers and cream cheese
  • celery and peanut butter
  • celery and cream cheese
  • toast and peanut butter cut into triangles
  • pita bread and hummus
  • bagels and cream cheese
  • veggies and hummus
  • veggies and guacamole
  • veggies and ranch
  • fruit and cheese


Dairy and eggs

  • Cheese quesadilla
  • cheese sticks
  • eggs, hard boiled
  • eggs, scrambled
  • yogurt, Greek with fresh fruit
  • meats
  • beef jerky
  • lox
  • pepperoni
  • rotisserie chicken
  • salami
  • deli meat


  • Oatmeal
  • whole grain bread
  • whole grain toast
  • bagels
  • soft pretzels
  • popcorn
  • pancakes/waffles (no syrup)
  • pita bread
  • muffins
  • Clif-Z bars
  • Aussie bites


Spreads and dips

  • cream cheese
  • peanut butter hummus guacamole
  • salsa
  • butter
  • mustard
  • sunflower seed butter
  • nuts
  • almonds
  • almonds, silvered
  • cashews
  • pecans
  • pistachios
  • walnuts

**Reminder: choose age-appropriate snacks. nuts, grapes, hot dogs, and sausages are common choking hazards, especially in children ages 3 and under. but hot dogs in half. Cut grapes length wise or quarter.

Click here to learn more about foods that are healthy for your teeth.

The next time your child wants a snack, choose something nourishing and satisfying. And remember to brush and floss afterward!

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